Theranos Interview Questions & Reviews
Getting an Interview
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Research Associate Interview (Negative Experience; Average Interview)
I applied through a recruiter and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Theranos.
Interview Details – I have been contacted twice by the HR department of the company. Initially, in January, I was contacted by a recruiter who scheduled a phone interview with one of the team leads. This was a 20-25 min talk, a standard phone screening. The interviewer told me I will be contacted by the HR regarding the next step. I got a call for an on site interview for the following week, and was given a detailed list of who I would be meeting. All the interviewers belonged to the Assay development team, for which I was interviewing. I was signed in and shown into the conference room by my HR contact. My first interview with the team lead was pushed back as he was busy and I met with the other 3 people of the team. While two of them were nice enough, and showed interest in my profile and my work, the third one had an attitude that he wanted me to fail. He asked me basic molarity based questions, for wet chemistry, which I did answer correctly, but he seemed to be unimpressed totally. While I solved his questions, he sat with a bored expression, as if he was forced to be here. Finally, I met with the lead, who spoke with me only for 5 minutes and didn't really ask me anything much.
Finally I was led out by another HR personnel and told that I will be informed in a couple of weeks. I received an email saying that I have not been selected.
The whole experience would have been a normal interview had it not been for the call I received last week. A different recruiter called me to ask me to schedule a phone interview. When I confirmed the time with her, she said she would follow up with an email. I did not receive any confirmation, nor did I get any call back from her at the time of the interview. I left her a voicemail, to which I still have not received a reply.
Why call people if you are not interested in interviewing them? I did not apply for a second time, I was called by them. I realize that they could have called me by mistake. However, not having the courtesy to get back to me and clarifying the situation was extremely unprofessional.
I would never work for them even if offered a position.
Interview Question – Very standard questions regarding my resume and work experience. Answer Question
Laboratory Associate Interview (Negative Experience; Average Interview)
I applied through a recruiter and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Theranos.
Interview Details – I was initially contacted via Linkedin by a human resources rep. I was asked to send a resume through email, and I was told to be interviewed for this specific position. Another human resources rep scheduled a phone interview for me. I was told to be interviewed with a specific person, but when I got the call it was a different woman, because the person I was supposed to be interviewed was not available. I wasn't too bothered because I was aware of how busy they were, but it seemed unprofessional.
The phone interview lasted 30 minutes long. I was asked to talk about my experiences on my resume and specific projects I worked with during research. Then she asked me about very specific technologies, which caught me off-guard and seemed unnecessary. I was ready to share more about my passion and interest, because this was a phone interview and there is no way I can show them my skills and knowledge thoroughly through a phone call. I was very interested in their technology due to my personal experiences with early diagnosis that failed, which I wanted to share but didn't get a chance to.
However, I was only asked technical questions and a typical "where do you see yourself in 5 years" question. I asked the interviewer how she felt about working there and why she chose to work there, and she said "because I needed a job after getting my Ph.D." This showed me how the company wasn't interested in people's interest and passion, but in their desperateness and skills/knowledge. This seems reasonable for them because company wants you to work 60~65 hours a week, which a person probably wouldn't do without some desperate need for a job/money.
After a week, I was invited to come to their office for an onsite interview, which would last 1.5 hours. After confirmation, I once again received an email with specific names for specific 30-min time slots. On the day of the interview, I went through their security system and was escorted to a meeting room by a human resources rep. Two women walked in, when I was expecting 2 women and 1 man (from email). They were totally different people from the email I received (I think one of the women was supposed to interview me during my third time slot), and I didn't get any explanations. They had my resume on their computer or had a hard copy. They once again asked the same questions that I was asked during phone interview, about my experiences in research, specific technologies, where I see myself in 5 years, etc. I think what they want to hear as an answer for the 5 year is question is "Definitely not grad school!" Again, they did not seem very passionate about what they were doing there. They were just "busy" with "tight schedules" but I wasn't sure whether they liked what they were doing. I think I heard "I needed to do something after getting my Ph.D" again when I asked why they decided to work at Theranos. One of the women had a very condescending tone and seemed rude. When she was walking out with the other interviewer, she was laughing and shaking her head. I don't think I deserved that treatment, especially from someone who hasn't even worked there for a full year yet.
For the second time slot, I was escorted again to a different room because the room I was already in had to be used for a meeting. The second room was more like lounge. Interviewer sat in a couch and I sat on a chair. By the way, the second interviewer was the woman that I had a phone interview with. I still don't know her last name because she wasn't mentioned in neither emails for phone and onsite interview. Wondering what I could possibly tell her more, she said "I forgot everything you told me during the phone interview. Just start again." So I talked about my research experience again and she asked the same technical questions. She seemed very disinterested, and I felt disrespected. For the third time slot, a man who was supposed to be for my other time slot came. He came a little late. He was the nicest guy I met, after the human resources people. I briefly talked about my experience, and I was able to ask more about the company itself and about my interest. He had worked there for years, and he seemed like he knew what he was doing and seemed interested in what I was saying.
When I was done, I was told by another human resources rep that they will be discussing my candidacy and will get back to me, and that the third round will consist of meeting with CEO/COO.
I was called about a week later that I was not offered to the next interview round. Overall, the interview process was very unprofessional and I had a negative experience. I felt like if I was going to be treated like this during the interview, I can already tell how I would be treated as just a laboratory associate at the bottom of the ladder, with no Ph.D.
I like what the company does, and I know they try to interview a LOT of people. I would say go for it, but don't expect to be treated well during the interview.
Interview Question – What do probes do in PCR Answer Question
Scientist Interview (Negative Experience; Average Interview)
I applied through a recruiter and interviewed at Theranos.
Interview Details – I went to a recruiting event and talked with someone who had been at the company since the very beginning. The next day I was contacted and asked to submit my CV. Shortly after that I had a phone interview with the hiring manager, and at the end of the call he invited me for an onsite interview. During the interview I first gave a 20 minute presentation and then met with members of the team, the team lead, and then the VP of research. At the end of the interview, the recruiter told me the feedback had been very positive and that they wanted me to come back to meet the president and the CEO. I didn't hear anything for 2 weeks, and then the recruiter called to say that they had changed their minds. No feedback, no idea what happened. I wrote a thank you email to the hiring manager and never heard anything back.
Interview Question – One question that everyone asked (and really emphasized) was "Why are you leaving academics for industry?" View Answer
Project Manager Interview (Neutral Experience)
I applied through a recruiter and interviewed at Theranos.
Interview Details – The director of recruiting contacted me via LinkedIn. The hiring process is very disorganized and haphazard. After a few days, the recruiting coordinator emails me requesting for time slots for a 30 min skype interview. While I responded to her email, there was no response from her for 2 weeks. Finally, I think she woke up after 2 weeks and called - she assumed that I had already finished the skype interview and said that we would like to have you over for an onsite interview with out COO at our Palo Alto office at 8:30 pm for 15 mins. At first, I thought I heard 8:30 am as 8:30 pm, but no she did mean 8:30 pm. When I asked her who in their sane mind conducts an interview at 8:30 pm and that too for 15 mins - she said that the COO is interviewing in 15 min time slots and that the time slots begin from 5 pm. I declined this opportunity as I felt that the entire interview process did not make sense to me - it was a harmonious decision between my brain and my heart to not join such a company with unprofessional hiring practices!
Entry Level Position Interview (Positive Experience; Average Interview)
I applied through an employee referral and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Theranos.
Interview Details – The process consisted of 2 phone interviews, 2 weeks later was an on site interview with 5 members of the team. The following week was an on site interview with the COO. Overall, it was a pretty smooth process and all of the employees I met with were very helpful. It was a really great experience.
Interview Question – The questions were all pretty standard. They mainly wanted to know why I wanted to work for Theranos, where I see myself in 5-10 years and what I can bring to the table. Answer Question
Payroll Administrator Interview (Negative Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied through other source and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Theranos in May 2014.
Interview Details – 3 weeks of being strung along for nothing:
WEEK 1: I was initially contacted for this position via LinkedIn from Theranos' internal recruiter. After a quick chat on the phone, he scheduled a phone interview between me and the company Controller. I wasn't 100% interested in the position until I spoke to the Controller, who sounded like an incredibly knowledgeable woman. We really connected well over the phone and she invited me on-site for an in-person interview.
WEEK 2: I arrive on-site at the company HQ for the in-person interview. I was issued a name tag and instructed to wait in a small (very claustrophobic) room for the Controller. When she arrived, she kept on checking her iphone which I thought was incredibly rude and unprofessional. She did apologize and stated that she had to continually check deadlines and make sure that her accounting team had submitted certain files. I understand that in a high-growth, start-up type environment, an individual may have to juggle many tasks at once - but I just wish she could have focused and given me some respect during the interview. Overall, the interview went great and she let me know that I would be invited on-site again for another interview.
WEEK 3: I was contacted by someone other than my initial recruiter to schedule an interview with the company's CFO. I was given barely any notice (they wanted me to come and meet him at 7pm the next evening,) but I didn't want to lose the opportunity because of the CFO's tight schedule, so I confirmed for that time slot. I arrived on-site and was advised by the front desk receptionist that I would have to wait approximately 30 minutes because the CFO was in a different meeting. I felt a little annoyed that I would have to wait longer for an already late-scheduled interview. Nonetheless, around 7:30pm I was taken again to the same small room and advised to wait. I was also given an iPad so that I could read more about the company (I think this was given to me to pass the time.) About 15 minutes later, the Head of Legal & HR came in to meet with me. I wasn't sure why I wasn't told in advance that I would be meeting with her, but we ended up chatting about the company, the position, commute (they seemed to be really worried about my commute, which I really didn't think was that big of a deal,) and my interest. After speaking for about 20-25 minutes, I asked her if the CFO was ready to interview me. She left the room to go check and didn't come back. A recruiter that I never met came in around 8:15 and told me that the CFO was just wrapping things up and would come in to see me. When the CFO finally entered the room around 8:30, he had someone else's resume in his hands, and the recruiter popped in to instruct the CFO that he was in the incorrect room. At this point, the recruiter told me that the CFO's executive assistant had accidentally double-booked him for tonight and that I wouldn't be interviewing with him. I felt completely annoyed that I had wasted an hour of my time driving to the location and another hour waiting around. The recruiter apologized for the inconvenience and assured me that I would be provided with an opportunity to reschedule or perhaps have a Skype interview.
next day: I called my original Theranos recruiter and let him know about the scheduling mishap. He apologized and said that he would follow-up and get back to me with a new interview date after the weekend.
3 days later: I received an email that my candidacy was closed. I called my initial contact to ask him what happened and that I didn't feel I had been treated fairly due to the scheduling mishap on their part, but he didn't say anything other than "sorry."
I honestly wouldn't recommend this company to anyone. They have no respect for current or future employees and they obviously have no value for an individual's time. I also want to point out that the company initially contacted ME, not the other way around, so I was incredibly upset that they wasted 3 weeks of my time when I could have been actively pursuing other opportunities.
Interview Question – Nothing really was unexpected. Just the usual questions: why do you want to work here? what challenges have you overcome in your previous position? what do you expect to gain from working here? what are you passionate about? Answer Question
Human Resources Interview (Positive Experience; Average Interview)
I applied through a recruiter and the process took 3 months - interviewed at Theranos in February 2014.
Interview Details – I was initially approached via LinkedIn inmail. I hadn't heard of Theranos & wasn't really looking, but enjoyed my conversation with the recruiter and agreed to meet with the hiring manager over Skype. It was very convenient, as they scheduled me for an evening call & I was able to not miss any work to learn more about this role.
The interviewer was a bit late but texted me directly to let me know (I appreciated the notice) After chatting for 30+ min she let me know a coordinator would be inviting me in for a face to face meeting. I was emailed and scheduled promptly.
I enjoyed my onsite interview and learning more. I agree with others that during the interview process the confidential nature of the company and work were discussed - but this didn't bother me as I understand about high-growth startups.
Next step was getting scheduled to meet with the executives. As someone in HR, I was thrilled to learn that the C-level team is interested in meeting candidates & care about the people they bring into the company. This meeting was rescheduled, but again, I know executive calendars are hard to manage and I was given proper notice.Once we rescheduled I was brought in, met by a nice coordinator and brought into a room.
While short, my meetings with the CEO & COO were impressive, direct, pleasant and solidified that this was an amazing company and I wanted to be a part of it!
The offer was very competitive and they were flexible with my schedule as I wanted to finish key projects before giving notice.
All in all - not the fastest interview process, but I was keep updated, each person I met with was professional and polite and the wait was worth it
Interview Question – Nothing too difficult, but I was happy I had taken the time to watch the videos and read as many articles as I could find to understand the company and services. Answer Question
SQL Developer Interview (Negative Experience; Easy Interview)
Interviewed at Theranos
Interview Details – Applied online and after one week or two got the recruiter email to arrange a phone screen. It's been pleasure to talk to the recruiter and set up the next technical phone interview for the following week.
And then it comes with the highlight part: A woman start with a very unprofessional mood called my phone when pass the schedule interview time over 20 mins. No sorry no explanation at all.
The questions was very simple: tell me what's the difference of the index in SQL, how to use loop in T-SQL, how to use try catch in T-SQL, how to use Trigger in SQL... No query test at all. This is so simple for me but I'm really struggle to understand her accents English! Can you imaging someone call loop for dome??? I have no choice but kindly asked her to spell for me, D D D, D for DOM. Come on, dom? I confused for seconds and tried to asked: are you saying Tom?
The whole interview process is totally mess up and unprofessional at all. No explanation for the question, no comment or response to your reply. The impression for me of the whole interview is ：OK, I come to waste your time today and we already have the choice.
Overall, my WORST interview experience at all!!!!
Try other company if you have choice.
Accounts Payable Clerk Interview (Positive Experience; Average Interview)
I applied online - interviewed at Theranos in January 2013.
Interview Details – The process was smooth but long. To many hurdles before the final line. applied online and was contacted by someone from HR. We had a brief phone interview. overall process was great.
Electrical Engineer Interview (Positive Experience; Average Interview)
I applied online and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Theranos in May 2014.
Interview Details – Contacted by a recruiter. He asked what was I looking for an would I work 50+ hours a week. Was contacted by HR and the interview process was very professional. Spoke with three interviewers for about three hours. The hiring manager was nice and asked a lot of probing questions. Spoke with a senior scientist and another engineer.
Interview Question – Lots of general questions. Typical of a interview for a Sr. Engineer. The firmware engineer (manager) asked the most difficult questions but overall the interview was very average. I got the feeling that they liked me and would proceed with the next step. View Answer
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